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Ireland will battle to the final vote to stage Rugby World Cup 2023

By FRANK QUINN
SOUTH Africa remain firm favourites to host the 2023 RWC, following up on the technical group review of the three candidates, South Africa, France and Ireland. This is the order in which the review finished: South Africa were clear winners (from 100%) 78.97%, France 75.88%, and Ireland 72.25%.
After all this examination of the technicalities it makes no reference to the fact that it is six years out and plenty of time to fix up deficiencies in any areas. This review group has made its pronouncements. Good for them. We have all heard the stories from the Olympics Games when there claims of the paint not being dry on a new stadium on the opening day.
Three of the proposed GAA venues were flagged as a risk concerning the amount of work needed to bring them up to RWC standard. That will be disappointing for the GAA who wholeheartedly backed the bid. On the financial front we offered the lowest tournament fee and South Africa offered the highest, and money does talk!
Technical group or not, we have been passed fit as an island to hold a tournament of the magnitude of the RWC, which in itself is reassuring for the Ireland bid committee
As World Rugby set up the Technical Committee, it is assumed that the voting at the World Rugby meeting will follow suit. Wait and see!
But the reality is that the real vote takes place on the 15th November, 2017 with a secret ballot at World Rugby to decide who is the winner for 2023. This is an explosive situation in the political world of rugby. It is akin to all other decisions by the Olympics, FIFA, European Championships etc. in relation to their own high profile events.
It will come down to favours, who owes who and what from the last vote in 2009 for the RWC 2015/2019 combined voting. The voters for England and Japan will expect a reciprocal arrangement for 2023. South Africa were the runners up for both editions.
The World Rugby Voting:
The nine top tier countries have 3 votes each, (Ex bidding countries)
(South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Italy)
Argentina has 2 votes and six other area regions have 2 votes each.
Five other countries have 1 vote each
The total is 46 votes from individual countries (Rugby Unions).
For a straight win 24 votes are needed, or the third placed country is eliminated, before a final vote takes place in a two horse race in a secret ballot.
If I include Argentina, the top ten countries hold the key with 29 votes, but the other minnows will have a part to play in the final shake up.
Ireland is promising to fight the good fight to the finish and we have not thrown in the towel. If we had come a good second in the technical aspects we might be more optimistic but we still need to canvas the top tier countries for votes.
The recent hosts this century of the RWC’s were:
2003 Australia, 2007 France, 2011 New Zealand, 2015 England, 2019 Japan,
The Southern Hemisphere “own” the RWC, having won 7 out of 8 editions, so without any more research you can see that the South want to have the RWC back in their territory in 2023.
Then the assumption/rumour is that the USA will be strong bidders for 2027 (Spread the Rugby Gospel!) and the “natural order of rotation” will kick back in 2031 and it will return to the Southern hemisphere.
You will notice that I have not included Ireland or France in the 2027 bidding, which would be the natural order of events as runners up for 2023. I think it may have passed them by.

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